DCF Press Release
||State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Robert A. Butterworth
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|February 26, 2008
Secretary Butterworth Releases Strategic Plan for Homelessness in Florida
~ Secretary Butterworth Addresses Council on Homelessness with Open Forum ~
FT. LAUDERDALE, FLA. – Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth today addressed the Council on Homelessness and highlighted the Department’s priorities for preventing homelessness in 2008. The Council on Homelessness, assembled in 2001, met at Nova Southeastern University to continue their efforts to create policies and make recommendations to reduce the homeless population in Florida. Today’s meeting was the first quarterly meeting this year and included an open forum. Nova’s President Ray Ferrero opened the meeting.
“We anticipate our services becoming more critical than ever in this tight budget year,” said Butterworth. “That means we’ve got to take steps now to ensure we’re prepared for tougher times and the expected increase in the need for our services ahead.”
During the Council’s open forum, various individuals spoke about their experiences helping the homeless or the experience of becoming homeless themselves. Speakers included, Officer Jaime Costas of the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department, as well as former homeless individuals Angela Gibson, Karry Whiting and Richard Anderson. In addition, local advocacy group leaders were also present including Frances Esposito representing the Broward Partnership for Homeless, Janet Riley, President of Broward Coalition to End Homelessness, and Elizabeth Wynter of United Way of Broward.
The Department’s 2008 strategic plan for homelessness focuses on the following five key priorities:
The Department’s Office on Homelessness supports the Council in its mission to decrease Florida’s homeless population. The Council includes representatives from seven state agencies, four members appointed by the Governor, and four members who are advocates for the homeless from statewide organizations.
- Increase public awareness on homelessness in Florida
- Increasing affordable housing for persons with mental illness, young adults transitioning out of foster care and veterans
- Targeting veterans who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless with Department services
- Assisting low-income individuals and families to remain in their homes
- Enhancing the capacity of the Office on Homelessness
The Office on Homelessness reports 60,168 homeless persons in Florida on any given day. Children make up 21 percent of the homeless population in Florida. For more information about the programs and services offered by the Florida Department of Children and Families, visit http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/homelessness/council/index.shtml.